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Chronic Coughing in Dogs

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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Diagnosis In-depth

The following diagnostic tests are essential in diagnosing and treating your pet's cough.

  • A complete history and physical examination

  • Chest radiographs (X-rays) with several views: with your pet on his back (dorsoventral) and on his side (lateral). These help to evaluate the heart, blood vessels, lungs, pleural space, or space between the lung and the body wall, diaphragm and mediastinum, which is the area between the left and right lungs.

    Radiographs are taken during both inhalation and exhalation to evaluate the airways and lungs. Fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion), lung tumors (neoplasia), or heart failure may be identified.

  • Complete blood count (CBC), heartworm test and serum biochemistry tests

  • Fluoroscopy (moving X-ray) or tracheoscopy, which uses a scope inserted into the trachea or windpipe to produce an image, to document airway collapse

  • Removal of a fluid sample from the chest cavity in dogs with pleural fluid. This is called a diagnostic thoracentesis. The fluid is evaluated for cells, bacteria, protein and other constituents and is often sent to a clinical pathologist for analysis.

    Additional diagnostic tests may be recommended depending on earlier test results and/or lack of response to initial treatments. Recommendations may include:

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